Friday, March 28, 2008

The Fellowship And Religion

Joshua Green on 3/26/08 summarized on The Atlantic Monthly's blogsite an intriguing facet of the profile he had written of newly-elected Senator Hillary Clinton in November, 2006. Green describes the association of Mrs. Clinton (who joined after her election in 2001) with The Fellowhip (also known as The Family), a Christian religious group formed in the 1930s to "minister to political and business leaders throughout the world" and headed by Douglas Coe. He assiduously avoids any public profile and archives of the group are locked up and classified at the evangelical Wheaton College in Illinois.

The Fellowship is comprised of several small groups which meet informally for testimony, prayer and discussion. One group, which assembles Wednesday mornings, is led by Coe and includes Clinton among approximately a dozen Senators. Most of the Senators, it appears, are both political and theological conservatives, described by David Kuo (at one time a Bush official in the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives who has since criticized the Administration) as "powerful evangelicals."

These groups, and the individuals which comprise them, scrupulously avoid publicity and I don't know what to make of the involvement of Hillary Clinton- negative, positive, or indifferent. Clearly, though, the lack of attention given to The Fellowship in a presidential campaign in which the leading candidate's relationship with his "spiritual advisor" has become an important issue reflects the media's obsession with avoiding any examination of religion. This is the case unless the matter explodes on YouTube- and even then, there is an allergy to discussion of the actual religious aspect. It is critical, we are told, for a candidate to express "faith"; meanwhile, no insight is offered as to what the faith actually is or the impact it may have on the political positions, or the governing style, of the office-seeker.

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